Frequently Asked Questions about the Mohel Circumcision Procedure
What is a Mohel?
“Mohel” is the Jewish name for a circumcision expert.
The Hebrew word “Mohel” translates as “one who
removes the foreskin”. A Mohel has undergone
extensive and rigorous training in the performance
of circumcision and is well-versed in Jewish
scripture as well as in the relevant medical aspects
of Urology and First Aid.
How do I choose a Mohel?
You should choose a Mohel that makes you feel comfortable and inspires you with confidence. I sincerely hope I fit the bill! You are more than welcome to schedule a call with me to explore whether I am a good fit for your family and I also invite you to check out my testimonials and judge for yourself.
Are you experienced in performing Circumcision?
I am a devoted and experienced Certified Mohel who has been performing circumcisions for over eleven years. I have successfully circumcised close to a thousand babies across the United States, Canada, and Israel. Feel free to browse through the many testimonials included on this site to get a better picture from other parents.
Why should you not defer your baby's circumcision?
Having a circumcision at a later date will most likely require a complete in hospital operation for any child over 5 months. Aside for the cost involved, no parent wishes to place their child under such difficulty challenging situations.
According to Jewish law, who must perform a Bris?
The Torah (Jewish Bible) places the primary obligation of performing the traditional Jewish Bris circumcision on the father. However, if he himself is not a qualified mohel, he may delegate a qualified mohel to be his agent to perform the Bris circumcision for him. Once the father has delegated the mohel to do the Bris circumcision, the mohel is considered to be working completely on behalf of the father.
Can a doctor perform the Bris for us instead?
Today, there are many Jewish children circumcised by a non-Jewish doctor in the hospital within two days after birth. However, Jewish tradition teaches us that the Bris circumcision should be performed on the eighth day and only by a qualified mohel, who is a Shabbat-observant Jew himself.
Will you perform the Bris for our son if our family is not religious?
I firmly believe that each and every Jewish child is entitled to a proper traditional Bris circumcision by a qualified Jewish mohel regardless of the family’s level of religious observance. One of my favorite quotes is “a Jew is a Jew is a Jew.”
What is the method used for the Bris?
I use the traditional Jewish method of the mogen and blade (also called a guard) This method is considered the fastest and most gentle method for a child.
In rare instances where exceptional physical characteristics are present, I may need to modify my method in order to perform the Bris circumcision. If this applies in your case, we will consult with your Rabbi, or other reliable Halachic authority, to decide on an appropriate plan of action. I will explain everything to you prior to the circumcision so you are fully informed and engaged in the decision-making process.
Do you work within a sterile environment?
I sterilize all my tools with an autoclave and work in a strictly controlled and clean environment. Despite the technical challenges involved in working with such a small limb, I do wear surgical gloves and all my instruments, as well as bandages and gauze, are sterile and clean before, during and after the ceremony.
Will you perform a Bris on a non-Jewish child adopted by Jewish parents?
If it is your intention to raise the child as a Jew, then I will, of course, perform the Bris circumcision for you. However, as this is a complex issue in Jewish law, it is a good idea to contact me and discuss this in advance.
When should the Bris take place?
The biblical requirement is to perform the bris on the eighth day of the child's life - his actual “birth” day is counted as the first. As the Jewish day begins at sundown (Lunar calendar), if your son was born during the day on Monday, his Bris day will be eight days later i.e on the following Monday. If your son was born after sundown on Monday, his Bris day will fall on the following Tuesday (because in Jewish tradition evening is part of the following day).
Performing the Bris on the eighth day (wherever possible) is considered of paramount importance in the Jewish faith and hence a Bris may be performed on Sabbath, Jewish holidays and even Yom Kippur.
If there are any doubts as to the child’s health and his readiness for the Bris postponement is possible after consultation with a Rabbi and medical professional.
Are there cases when the Bris is postponed to later than the eighth day?
In case of a significant issue regarding the health of the newborn baby, the Bris circumcision is postponed until a week after the child has completely recovered. This decision is determined by the physician in consultation with the Mohel. If the baby is jaundiced (which may be noticed by a yellowish color in the face and upper body) then sometimes the circumcision is postponed just a day or two. Where issues of health arise, you should consult with your doctor /pediatrician. You are also more than welcome to contact me with any questions you may have.
Are there health benefits to having my baby circumcised?
Although the reasons that most Jewish people perform a Bris are unrelated to health, the American Pediatric Association is very clear on the fact that circumcision confers significant medical benefits to all recipients.
The risks of a child contracting a urinary tract infection; phimosis; penile cancer are greatly reduced with circumcision. Circumcision also lowers the risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases including HIV.
How much does it cost to do a Bris?
The cost of a bris circumcision ceremony by an experienced Mohel can range anywhere between $500 to $1200. The final cost depends on the distance to be traveled as well as a number of other factors which we can discuss during our initial consultation call. Because of the centrality of having a Bris in the Jewish tradition, I do whatever I can to help Jewish families get a bris for their son. If finances are an issue please feel free to discuss various payment options and sliding scales with me.
When should we contact you?
Contact me as soon as you know it is a boy so I can do my best to be available to you on the eighth day after his birth. If you know the sex of your baby and wish to have a preliminary call with me before the birth, I will be happy to speak to you however no scheduling will be possible until we know the baby’s actual birth day.
Where will you perform the Bris?
I perform circumcisions in the comfort and familiar surrounding of your own home. On request, I can also carry the procedure out in a catering establishment or a synagogue.
In which cities do you perform Circumcisions?
I regularly perform circumcisions in Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Alaska but am usually available to travel throughout the Pacific North and Midwest regions of the United States (Alaska, Hawaii, and Washington to name a few) as well as to Canada.
I am excited at the possibility of meeting you, your family, and your son wherever you may be located and will consider traveling to any location within the United States at your request.
Do we need to purchase supplies?
You do not need to purchase any supplies for the Bris. I supply you with all medical material needed for the procedure and aftercare. You should have diapers, wipes and three baby blankets available. I also encourage allowing your baby to suck on some grape juice during the procedure. It is recommended to give a baby a dosage of Tylenol prior to the procedure, but this is a personal decision.
Do I have to watch you do the Bris?
Due to my thorough explanation of the procedure, many parents feel comfortable being present for their child throughout. This choice, however, is entirely yours. While some parents wish to watch, others prefer to avert their eyes or even to exit the room altogether. I want you to feel comfortable in whatever your decision may be. Feel free to choose whatever works for you and makes you feel the most comfortable.
Can you perform a Bris in a hospital?
I will usually only perform the circumcision ceremony in a private home, catering establishment, or synagogue. There are some medical conditions which demand a hospital setting. In these cases, it is best to consult with me prior to the event in order to decide upon the best course of action.
Do you circumcise adults?
While there are experienced Mohels who perform adult circumcision this is not something I offer myself. If you are an adult who is interested in getting circumcised, I would be very happy to refer you to a urologist who can take it from there. The adult circumcision is significantly more complicated that an infant procedure and also more lengthy due to challenges posed by bleeding and stitches.